June 28th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Counting Stalin's victims 50 years on

EDITORIAL: Australia's population challenge

PACIFIC: Solomon Islands: nightmare in paradise

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Why the Crean-Beazley issue is unresolved

ENVIRONMENT: Climate scientists reject Kyoto Protocol

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Labor mates / Night to remember / Heart of darkness / Intervention

EUTHANASIA: Stopping Australia's Doctor Death

Sugar price decline (letter)

Free trade deal and local shareholders (letter)

TIMOR L'ESTE: Looming food shortage in East Timor

AGRICULTURE: National water trading plan questioned

FAMILY LAW: Canadian court changes definition of marriage

EDUCATION: The problem with boys ...

South African economic miracle?

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Looming food shortage in East Timor

by Fr Marcos de Oliveira SDB

News Weekly, June 28, 2003
Fr Marcos de Oliveira, an East Timorese priest, is appealing for assistance to provide urgently needed food for children attending the 45 schools in his parish.

"There are a large number of students in our schools who don't have breakfast or lunch," Fr Marcos said. "Initially, I would like to be able to give them one meal a day at school.

"It is my dream to provide each school with gardening implements and seed to enable the children to grow their own vegetables and fruit trees," he added.

According to the United Nations, East Timor is facing a severe food deficit with at least one in every six people not having enough to eat.

A two-year drought, subsistence farming and a depleted fishing fleet have contributed to the food shortage.

Starving East Timorese may be forced to eat rats, cats and dogs unless they receive food aid within six months, The Australian newspaper reported on June 6.

Fr Marcos said that within the Laga parish, there are 50 orphans, many poor widows and a large number of mothers in need of help to feed their children.

"Our needs are great. I'm very grateful to the generous people in Australia who have helped us this year," Fr Marcos said. "We don't have regular income. We need money ... we are relying on Divine Providence," he said.

Donations to assist Fr Marcos' food program in Laga can be sent to:

Salesian Mission Office
PO Box 80
Oakleigh VIC 3166

(Donations are tax deductible.)

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